Object Title

Sword

Sword

Date

1575-1600

Object Number

IX.161

Provenance

Purchased at the Bernal Sale, Christie and Manson, 5 March-30 April, 1855, according to the Typed Inventory and ffoulkes 1916, probably Lot 2468 (one of two swords) (but see Notes).

Physical Description

Of the so-called 'Sinclair-sabel' type. Steel hilt consisting of a flat, pyramidal pommel (Norman type 12); long, flattened spatulate quillons recurved in the plane of the blade. Knuckle-guard connected outside the hand by a flat, S-shaped guard to a triangular plate, mounted on thee quilons which protects the back of the hand. The plate is pierced with a cross formed of five diamonds with concave faces, and between the arms are four circular holes. On the inside a scroll-guard dividing at its forward end links the knuckle-guard to the diagonal side-ring mounted on the root of the rear quillon and the end of the forward arm of the hilt. A thumb hook joins the side-ring to the quillons at their centre. The knuckle-guard, S-bar abd scroll-guard widen towards their centres and the qullon ends are shaped like a bun with a cherry on top. The wooden, oval-sectioned grip is covered in brown leather (stoppong short of the ends) and bound with a fine to medium gauge copper alloy wire twist.


Curved, single-edged blade of falchion type with a strong chamfer at the start of a false edge which runs for the last 240 mm (9 3/8 in.), a fairly short ricasso with a narrow fuller near the forward edge and with three longer fullers on each face: a narrow near the spine stopping at the chamfer, and two slightly broader fullers alongside which extend almost to the tip.

Dimensions

Dimensions: Overall length: 788 mm (30 5/8 in.), Blade length, back edge at hilt to tip: 635 mm (25 in.), Blade width, at hilt: 42 mm (1 1/8 in.), Width of hilt (in plane of blade): approx. 250 mm (9 3/4 in.), Depth of hilt: approx. 110 mm (4 1/4 in.) Weight: 2 lb 13 oz

Inscriptions and Marks

On blade, stamped: on both faces, approx. 75 mm (outside) and 115 mm (inside) from the hilt, two marks struck several times: a crowned A (lacking a cross-bar) and a small cross. In each of the two long fullers the mark A mark is struck twice alternating with the cross mark which is struck three times, thus: + A + A +. The A mark is struck again on the inside of the ricasso, near the forward edge. (for the A mark see ffoulkes 1916 and drwaing at actual size in Marks Cards (curators' office)).

Associations

Bibliographic References

Harold, Viscount Dillon, Illustrated Guide to the Armouries, Tower of London, London, 1910: (page no. not yet found), Pl. 18 (X.97).

C ffoulkes, Inventory and survey of the armouries of the Tower of London, London, HMSO, 1916, vol. II, p. 282 (illus. - mark), 283 (illus. - hilt & base of blade).

A.R. Dufty and A. Borg, European Swords and Daggers in the Tower of London, London, 1974, p. 22, pl. 36c (overall view).

Notes

Regarding the provenance, the annotated copy of the Bernal catalogue (edition edited by Henry Bohn) has IX.160 (not IX.161) by Lot 2468, with IX.69 for the other sword.
There are many similar weapons at Graz. See F G von M, 'Die Waffen des Landes-Zeughaus zu Graz', Graz 1880, reprinted from Das Landes-Zeughaus in Graz, Buchdruckerei con Joh. Janotta, nd, pl. 24, fig. 6; Landzeughaus (Graz), 'Schwert und Sabel and des Steiermark.', exhib. cat., Graz, Landeszeughaus, 1975, no. 23, fig. 51.
See also Terje Norheim, 'Tessaklinger', Haermuseet, Akerhus, Oslo, extract from the Yearbook, 1971-1972; Eivind Eyvang, 'Tessaken', Haermuseet, Akerhus, Oslo, extract from the Yearbook for 1973-1975 (both need fully extracting by someone who reads Norwegian). The hilt corresponds to their Type f (Norheim, p. 2; Eyvang, p. 11). Norheim illustrates the same mark from several swords (pp.7-9, figs 1c, 2c, 5a, 5c, 13). Norheim fig. 5a corresponds to Eyvang fig. 6 (acc. no. HAO 19601 B).